Weird festivals in the UK

Updated April 17, 2017

If you've ever dreamed of sailing down a river in a giant Yorkshire pudding, or chasing a flaming tar barrel down the street, then there's a weird UK festival for you. With dozens of strange events on the calendar, the UK has some of the quirkiest festivals around. Many originate from ancient pagan rituals or historic events. Others are simply the ideas of local madmen -- and all the more fun because of it!

Get bogged down

Put on a snorkel, dive into a Welsh bog and what do you get? The World Bog Snorkelling Championships of course. This wacky competition takes place each year in Llanwrtyd Wells. More than 100 people, many wearing outrageous costumes, compete to be fastest across the line at the end of 60 feet of smelly bog.

Bowl a blood sausage

The Black Pudding Throwing Championship in Ramsbottom, Lancashire each September sees grown men throw black puddings into the air. These dried blood sausages are aimed at Yorkshire pudding targets. Whoever knocks down the most puddings wins the coveted title of "Best thrower of black puddings at Yorkshire puddings in the world."

Tastes like pain

The World Nettle Eating Championships in Dorset encourages visitors to stuff their faces with handfuls of stinging nettles. Competitors in the main event have to scoff down as many nettle leaves as they can in one hour. Needless to say, the plant isn't the most palatable. It takes an iron stomach and a teflon tongue to win!

Set sail in a batter boat

Yorkshire puddings and weird festivals seem to go hand-in-hand. The Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race features competitors sitting inside giant Yorkshire puddings, trying to navigate a stretch of river. As the boats are only made of batter, the pudding naturally break apart after a little while, leading to lots of soggy racers -- and lots of laughs for the watching crowd.

Flaming heck!

There's nothing quite like a little danger to spice up a weird UK festival. The town of Ottery St Mary in Devon adds their own twist to Guy Fawkes night by getting men to carry flaming barrels of tar down the street. Believed to originate in the 17th century, the current day festival sees each pub in the area sponsor a flaming barrel, with the largest barrels left until midnight to carry through the town.

Catch that cheese

Only in the UK would you see dozens of adults tumbling down a steep hill chasing a wheel of cheese. The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Festival occurs every June Bank Holiday Monday. It involves hundreds of people running -- in some cases falling -- down a hill to catch the moving cheese wheel. Broken legs are common.

Fire it up

Up Helly Aa is Europe's biggest fire festival. In January on Lerwick, part of Scotland's picturesque Shetland Islands, people gather to watch as many as 1,000 folk performers carry flaming torches down the street. As if that wasn't weird enough, the torch carriers finish by hurling each torch into a wooden Viking longboat, setting it alight before pushing it out to sea.

Fly like a birdman

The Bognor Birdman in West Sussex challenges men to fly like birds -- or fall like stones. The aim is to launch off the end of Bognor pier and "fly" as far as possible. Most competitors enter wearing crazy costumes. Occasionally, someone takes a leap with an impressive piece of engineering strapped to their back and manages to glide for many metres before dropping into the water.

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